CyberTech Rambler

December 12, 2011

Did Electronic Warfare brought down RQ-170?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 6:22 pm

The biggest aviation news last week was Iran captured an American Drone. That’s interesting in itself. More when the news came that the drone was captured more-or-less intact. However, most interesting is the claim that the drone was brought down through electronic warfare.

A casual observer like me can believe Iran don’t have the capability to bring down a drone. It needs foreign help. There are speculation that Iran’s recent purchase of a Russian Electronic Warfare system is responsible. However, I kinda doubt this is the case. If the unit is capable of disrupting and control a hostile drone, this is something the Iranian and Russian will want to keep for a rainy day, not a PR stunt. Even if Iran is willing, it will need Russian approval to pull such a trick.

That brings us to the timing issue. Russians will OK it to divert attention from Russia itself. The news days were quiet when the drone was brought down. When the big news about Russian Elections hit the airwave, news about the drone had becomes today’s fish-and-chip wrapper.

What do I think happened? The drone security protocol, particularly remote commands, are not up to scratch. America probably underestimated the capability of hostile nations to intercept, interpret and then fake signals to their drones. Drones of the same type has been operating in Afghanistan (if not inside Iran) for quite a few years now, giving Iran plenty of time to listen to and understand the signals.

Did the new Russian electronic warfare system played a part in the drone’s downfall? Probably. But its involvement might be limited to simply providing Iran a means to transmit the fabricated control signals. A big role, but not as important as the ability to interpret the signal. We won’t know this for sure. Right now, Russians are just happy to bask in the limelight that people speculated that it is  their system that brings down the drone. That is something to be proud of and can translate into $$$.



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